Reprising the franchise’s surefire money-minting strategy, Step Up Revolution detonates five or six hyperkinetic dance extravaganzas in dazzling 3-D, timed to obliterate a traditionally saggy story line. In the Step Up mythology, dreamers, losers and misfits always pull themselves up by their bootstraps, hoofing their way out of mean streets to fame — e.g., prizes, dance scholarships, Nike contracts. It’s a show-biz fairy tale as old as the movies; what’s surprising is how successfully this stale slice of the American Dream sells, in a marketplace supposedly dominated by the hip-kid demographic.
But, then, Step Up ticket buyers might just crack wise(ly): “It’s all about the dancing, stupid!”
Here, the story hook is the threat of a big development company wiping out a downscale, multi-ethnic Miami neighborhood. The sons and daughters of this poor but happy community — bathed in warm gold-and-orange light and hot salsa — want to save their home, while the CEO’s kid yearns to dance her way out of her white-and-gray world, where practical-minded dad (Peter Gallagher, slumming) would like to freeze-frame her into a corporate cog. Loosed in various urban venues, the high-energy kinetic power of The Mob, a diverse community of flash dancers and performance artists from the hood, eventually dissolves all differences, creating one big happy family.